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HomeWeaponsChemical weaponsFor a Second Time, the OPCW Disproves the Syrian Regime’s Allegations About...

For a Second Time, the OPCW Disproves the Syrian Regime’s Allegations About the Occurrence of A Chemical Weapons Incident Attributed to ISIS

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SNHR Renews its Calls on the OPCW Not to Waste Further Resources and Efforts on Any Allegations by A Regime Whose Deadly Use of Chemical Weapons Is Well-Established

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On Thursday, February 22, 2024, the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released its report outlining the findings of an investigation into allegations reported by the Syrian regime’s government to the OPCW’s Technical Secretariat on November 1, 2017. The regime alleged that ISIS used chemical weapons in an attack that took place in the south of al-Yarmouk Camp in Damascus governorate, requesting that the OPCW investigate this incident.

In this latest report, the FFM, whose mandate includes responsibility for determining whether or not toxic chemicals have been used as a weapon of war in Syria but not assigning culpability in any alleged attacks involving the use of chemical weapons, outlined the findings of their investigations into the alleged attack. The FFM noted that the investigators had, as part of the investigations, conducted a field-visit to the site in question, and interviewed eyewitnesses and victims of the alleged incident that was reported by the regime, as well as reviewing and analyzing photos, video footage, and the documents provided by the Syrian regime’s government, in addition to examining the chemical analyses of the samples received and collected, while also reviewing open source materials.

After examining and collecting all the information at hand, the report concludes, “Considering the time that had elapsed between the moment of the reported incident and the moment samples were collected… the presence of amino‑dinitrotoluene (ADNT) identified in the samples cannot be linked to a specific event that had occurred…” adding that “Based on the scope of analysis… the overall results do not provide an indication of the use of toxic chemicals as a weapon.”

Furthermore, the report noted that the FFM faced challenges in verifying the information collected about the incident due to discrepancies between the information provided by the eyewitnesses and that provided by the Syrian regime’s government on the incident. Even worse, the report adds that “The documents provided by the Syrian Arab Republic contained discrepancies in the number of casualties;” while the report also mentions a discrepancy between the number of individuals reported to have been present at the site at the time of the incident, the number of casualties, and the number of individuals seeking medical attention at the hospital. Moreover, the report notes that the FFM found no photos or video of the munitions that were allegedly used in the attack, adding that even the eyewitnesses’ description of the said munitions was inconsistent. The FFM also stressed that it could not find any link between the symptoms reported and “a specific factor or to a class of chemicals”.

Additionally, the eyewitnesses’ accounts were inconsistent with respect to the number of individuals treated following the alleged incident at the makeshift Yalda Hospital. Other inconsistencies in the accounts were also found in their narrating of the events and the description of the “gas” that was allegedly present at the site of the incident, including its color and odor, the report adds.

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